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Winter 2016

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

Space Study

Anticipating Aircraft Fatigue

NASA project aims to predict the lifespan and strength of rotor spars 

Plane taking off a runway

Determining when large parts of aircraft will fatigue or develop damage is key to the aeronautics industry for both safety and economic reasons. That's why NASA has turned to the UTA Research Institute (UTARI) to develop advanced computational techniques to predict the lifespan and strength of rotor blade assemblies, known as rotor spars.

"Aerospace companies are constantly looking for ways to design and produce next-generation aircraft more efficiently," says UTARI Research Scientist Endel Iarve, who is leading the study. "It is very exciting to contribute to this goal by developing computational methods capable of simulating material behavior and reducing the amount of testing."

The three-year, $1 million project is funded through NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in alignment with the Advanced Composites Project, which seeks to provide safe, sustainable domestic and international aviation.

The study will use the Discrete Damage Modeling (DDM) framework to predict damage and fatigue in the composites. With DDM, multiple individual damage events, such as cracks and delamination, are introduced into the model through the displacement discontinuities they create.

Additionally, the researchers will look for ways to minimize the timeline of developing and certifying state-of-the-art composite materials and structures. They hope this will ensure that the components are more competitive in commercial aircraft.

Dr. Iarve, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the American Society for Composites, joined UTA in 2015 as an addition to the newly created Institute for Predictive Performance Methodologies. The Institute is part of the University's two-pronged strategy to increase research and engage corporations in finding practical uses for the faculty's discoveries.

"Iarve's research uses data-driven discovery to create valuable models that will predict the lifespan of larger aerospace components," says Mickey McCabe, UTARI executive director. "It delivers a valuable tool needed by every aerospace manufacturer."

State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) agrees, and says that the NASA project is evidence of the University's increasing contributions to the aerospace industry: "UTA is becoming a worldwide leader and a research partner with the aviation industry in establishing benchmarks that will have a permanent impact on computational aeronautic manufacturing."

More articles from this issue

UT Arlington - Office of Research